Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Day 14 Friday 5/2/2010
Thekkady to Kottayam – 190 Km
The last day, all we have to do now is keep safe and finish the rally. Alex, the Team leader emphasised during the briefing that most serious accidents happen on the last day. People want their last ‘blast’ and get careless. We were warned that after yesterday there were to be no antics and to avoid any ‘offs’ all the team and the medics wanted to enjoy the last night party and not spend it in a hospital or even worse delivering someone to the ‘back door’ of the hospital. A great riding day, warm and with loads of great bends. Towards the end the traffic got busier and more aggressive an oncoming bus actually brushed my right arm at speed! The last 3km in was done I convoy, all horns blaring and people standing on the pegs. We entered the huge car park at the Lakesong resort; there were dancers and elephants to greet us. We had covered over 2000km, laughed every day, made great friends and we were all going home complete with bruises and some breaks.
I leave India knowing that I will go back. It is a wonderful country and there is so much more to see. I leave India with a little bit of India with me. I leave India with a little bit of me there, namely all my socks, all my undies and all my t-shirts which I threw away or gave away wherever I stayed!
Day 13 Thursday 4/2/2010
Kodaikanal to Thekady – 290 Km
Up at 5.30 (again) and another early start. We had to go back over the mountain range that we had used to get to Kodaikanal. Again we were up very high, with some sheer drops and some drops which although were severe were not an immediate plummet to the bottom. One guy did go too fast and locked his back brake trying to stop. He went through the gap in the barriers and definitely got ‘air’ between his bike and the ground. He sailed through a tree he tried to grab to save him and did not land until he was 50ft or more down the side of the mountain, his bike going too. That man must have lost one of his 9 lives that day. In another part of the road he would have killed himself. I found the concentration required on mountain sections mentally tiring as an ‘off’ there could be far worse than just chucking the bike down the road with you following it on flat roads without drops! The highlight of the day was riding through the tea plantations of Munnar. Absolute beauty of nature with natural streams pouring down the sides of the hills around and the tea being picked as it has been for centuries. By late afternoon we were on more forgiving roads. Coming towards a bend one of the Enduro Team was flagging us to slow down, obviously an accident had happened. I saw the road was extremely wet and at the side a guy was being fitted with a neck brace. Later we were to learn the brace was a precaution until he could be examined in more detail. Just a broken collar bone, the rally was over for him. We had various delays that day waiting of ‘offs’ to be recovered and so forth. The front riders would stop the rally at various points so the back riders and support could catch up. We could not have too much distance between the front and back of the rally so that support was always not too far away. At around 6pm Herbies throttle cable snapped and we had to wait for a mechanic. By the time we entered the Park Ferme at 7pm it was dark. No fun on these roads after dark as not all locals consider it to be necessary to use their vehicle lights at night!!
Day 12 Wednesday 3/2/2010
Jungle Hut Masinagudi to Kodaikanal – 295 Km
Another early start and up at 5.30. Terry’s leg had not improved and he would not be riding the rest of the rally but he would continue in one of the support vehicles. A damp start to the day and a bit colder than we have been used to. We left at 7am and headed for the hill station at Ooty. After about 8km we encountered the climb, 36 hairpin bends, starting at 1250metres and we were at 1850 at the top. The whole day comprised of many climbs with loads of bends. We were 6000ft up and some drops next to the road were sheer for at least 1000ft. There were concrete barriers in some places but not all, and sometimes there were no barriers. Any loss of concentration or a bad corner would result in some unintentional off piste which could well be your last! There were some flat sections during the day with a couple of amusing sights. I looked to my right as I came around a bend and could not believe my eyes, there was a procession of around 10 Indian guys who were completely naked! It seems that they are part of a sect which gives up all possessions (including their undies by the look of things) and then go on pilgrimages! At another point I could see a lot of smoke coming from a field to my right with a large group of people watching the fire brigade putting out what looked to be some sort of pyre. A few hundred meters further along there were another group about to get a surprise; they were carrying an oversized stretcher on their shoulders complete with a corpse on top wrapped in a shroud. Perhaps that was the reason for the fire…… We arrived at 5.30pm to a nice hotel at the hill station of Kodaikanal.
REST DAY AT JUNGLE HUT
They have a spa!!! One hour of full body aromatherapy followed by a 45 minute facial. The price? The equivalent of 23 pounds sterling!! After lunch we went on open jeep safari. We saw loads of deer and elephant but not the elusive tiger! The highlight was being chased by a grumpy elephant. Got back at 8 pm in time for dinner and a presentation by senior guy for WCS explaining how the hundreds of thousands of pounds raised by Global Enduro help the tiger conservation in this region. Today I have finally caught up with the days outstanding on this blog. I hope you are all enjoying reading it. I enjoy the feedback when it is passed to me. This would not be possible without Megan, my daughter who not only designed and created this web blog but also updates it each time I send my Blackberry reports and pictures to her. Thanks Megan.
Posted by Megan Burr at 10:41
MYSORE TO JUNGLE HUT MASINAGUDI
We did not have to leave Mysore until Midday so we took the opportunity to visit the outlet of the silk factory. An extensive shopping session was had by all four of us. The team meeting awarded ‘Dick of the Day’ to a guy who yesterday did not see someone’s tank bag on the floor at a garage (these bags have very strong magnets so when we chuck them on our tanks they stay put at all speeds). The tank bag attached itself to his exhaust pipe. He left the filling station and within a few miles the bag was on fire from the exhaust heat and he did not notice the flames as he rode along! Skid was awarded to Dave, a man who managed to control his bike on the motorway when it suffered a front tyre blowout at 110 kph, you have to be a good rider not to crash when that happens. We had an easy ride to Jungle Hut of around four hours. Terry could not ride as one of his legs had become extremely swollen over recent days and he found it hard to walk let alone change gear or ride the pegs as was becoming more necessary due to the state of the roads. I had one close call according to Herbie who was riding behind me. A car pulled from my left in a town turning right across my path. I hit my back brake and the bike went into a kind of speedway corner manoeuvre. I skid around the car and did not think any more of it until he mentioned it. At home you would think of it all day, here it happens all the time so it does not seem to matter anymore. Trucks still come around blind bends or over the brow of hills two abreast while overtaking each other and anything smaller has to find a way to avoid hitting them. It is still scary but becomes more of a thrilling game with time. We arrived at Jungle Hut Masinagudi after riding through the tiger reserves of Bandipur and Mudumallai. It is an Eco Resort which is a wildlife sanctuary. Even though tomorrow is a rest day we did not party. We were tucked up in bed before 11 pm. It must be an age thing!!!
KALASA SILENT VALLEY TO MYSORE
I woke at 5 am, lights still out in dorm. I picked up my dirty kit off the floor and put it back on. No point in getting anything else dirty as I had not washed since Friday night in Shimoga and as you already know I may have been dirtier after a shower in that place! My motocross trousers are used every day and anyway as is my body armour this would not get washed for whole trip anyway. My socks and underclothes would usually go in the bin every night and my t-shirt from each day I give to the mechanics each morning. My bags get lighter day by day. It was a damp and cold morning and for the first time this trip I needed a motocross top on over my armour. It gets to be a routine now, sort kit on arrival at destination so all is ready for the morning as the early starts have to be calm. You cannot be doing anything other than ‘getting in the zone’ for the days ride and preparing your road book in the morning. The start is always a dangerous point with over 100 bikes all leaving the parking compound of the previous night. The roads to start were in awful condition with huge potholes and gritty surfaces, the rear ends skipped on bends and front forks bottomed out if you hit a pothole. Lots of blind bends as we climbed up the roads away from Kalasa. We left the mountains for the hot open area of the Deccan plateau heading for Mysore which is a wondrous city where the British had one of their summer seats of government during the days of the Raj. It was a great ride with sweeping bends and long stretches where we could run the bikes at full throttle. It still took us around 10 hours including a lunch stop (curry buffet - just in case anybody does not know that is all we have eaten since arriving in India). We arrived at a five star hotel, thank goodness, at around 5.30 and all the bikes had to be parked in a regimented line organised by a couple of uniformed me I could only describe as ‘Parking Wallas’. How they got that many people to comply after the couple of days we had just been through I will never know. We walked into the fine reception and had red dots put on our foreheads. Unfortunately the police had stopped our baggage support truck. All drivers are supposed to know what is in each bag of cargo they carry and he obviously did not. We all hung out in the small bar and then poured out into the nice seating area by reception drinking beer. Other guests coming in must have been horrified as we were a dirty, desperate looking group. The baggage arrived too late to get changed for a coach trip to see the lights being turned on at the Mysore Palace. I walked around in my filthy kit and got some very strange looks from the locals. A tuk tuk ride back then dinner on the lawn and a presentation by UNICEF on how the money raised by our trip will benefit the children of the area in the fight against AIDS. We slept well that night!!!
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Sorry for the lack of posting at the moment; where the team are in India right now there is unfortunatly not enough signal for Dad to send his adventures through to us :( Hopefully they will be sent through soon, but please keep checking for any news,
NEW POST BELOW - DAY 8
Sent to my family in the UK:
Herbie, Terry, Cliff and Andy
I LOVE INDIA. The sights and sounds here are amazing. The countryside is so lush. Remembering back to pictures of farming in India as a child and thinking even then it looked as it would 100 years ago, here nearly 50 years on it is still the same. Today was only 180km which is less than the distance of the last two days but around 100km was off-road or on roads so bad that the depth and width of a pothole was big enough to bury an average size dog. We also now have to avoid monkeys and chickens as well as the cows and dogs. We were warned today that there are usually a lot of 'offs' (crashes) on this route due to the terrain. They were not wrong..... The ride was beautiful through lush farmland with crop field’s rich green in colour. There was a climb up a mountain with drops beside the road edge. Terry managed to miss judge a left hand bend and managed a sort of jump off the bike followed by a somersault. Alan who we roomed with on the first two nights tried to overtake an ambulance but the ambulance had to avoid a rock. Alan went over the edge, after about 20ft the foot peg dragged in the dirt and a large shrub stopped him and the bike. Colin pulled the bike off him and it took 8 guys to get the bike back up on to the road. A big crowbar straightened out the foot pegs. Joe the American firefighter ended up with his arm in a sling and one guy took a smack to his body armour in the chest and they thought he was having a heart attack. Luck had it that a cardiac specialist on the Enduro was close by and went to hospital with him. He is now OK. There were numerous other offs which made it a very long day. We reached Silent valley at dusk. Tonight I share a dorm with 18 other guys we each have a two inch thick mattress on the floor. Just one loo and one shower. I decide not to even bother taking my kit off and go to drink and eat. With any luck the beer will kill the pain of the day and help me sleep. I stayed out until most were in 'bed'. I took a sleeping pill and pain killers and jumped into my sleeping bag liner with my pillow. I passed out real quick. I have lost my voice today due to dust inhalation and my ribs are thought to be cracked/broken following my "off" 2 days ago. Up at 5am, another night of 4 hours sleep and 250km ahead of me. The funniest story of today’s ride was about a guy who rode through a town where there was a cow with a long rope around its neck. The cow had wandered over the road and the guy had rode over the rope without realizing it was attached to a cow and that it was caught on the bike and he was dragging a very reluctant cow down the main street. He noticed an old farmer looking very angry with a big stick (weapon of choice in India) chasing him when he looked in his mirror but had still not realized about the cow there was no way he was going to stop...someday this rally is like a moving circus. The most touching moments of this trip is seeing the children, they don't have much at all but are smart and clean for school, always smiling and exciting. Another very small girl blew me a kiss today, I blew one back and she went shy. This time I shed a tear........
thank you for all recent donations, very much appreciated :D
Monday, 1 February 2010
Murdashvar to Shimoga
Another early start, we seem to be riding around ten hours a day so far. Well we finally managed to keep the four of us together today. It was a 200km ride but an easy one. We saw jog falls which is the highest waterfall in India. We stopped for lunch there in an old quadrangle building of very small shops. An Indian lady cooked us two banana pancakes and an omelet that with three cokes and a good tip came to 90p. Local guys kept wanting their pictures taken with us while we were there.
Every time we ride the locals are lovely they wave at us in every village and if we stop the kids crowd around. They want to shake hands and have their photo taken. They are fascinated with our body armour and keep touching it to see how hard it is. We were told that Shimoga is never visited by white people so we are of great interest to the locals; they probably think all whites dress like we do!!
When we arrived at the hotel the staff came to take our bags to the rooms, every one of them barefoot! The room was awful with sheets dirty from the previous 'x' number off guests, towels so grubby you would think twice before cleaning a floor with them. I left Andy in the room and went back to the reception. One of the organizer girls was at reception. I asked her to tell the guy behind the counter sheets & towels in the room were filthy. They sent up new (still grubby) but I slept in my sleeping bag liner with a travel pillow and used my 'emergency' travel towel.
Leaving town the next day was like driving though an earthquake zone or Beirut during the troubles there, except dirtier, unbelievable. Stories from people going out in the evening ranged from shops with no electric, just small Honda generators to people defecating in the street! The place was time warped.
thank you for all the recent donation, very much appreciated